Colombia

Prayers for Peacemakers, August 31, 2016 Colombia

Prayers for Peacemakers, August 31, 2016   Colombia

Creator of the universe, we rejoice with all our Colombian brothers and sisters who are celebrating the end of the Colombian civil war.  We praise you for the strength that you gave those who resisted the violence and degradation of humanity over the last decades. We honor the murdered martyrs who spoke out for justice and simply tried to do their jobs in the face of overwhelming corruption and inequality.  We know that the evils of the human heart have not been signed away in Havana. We ask that you bend the will of those in power toward justice and that you give peacemakers renewed strength for the journey that is to come.

 

*Epixel for Peacemakers September 4, 2016

Garzal and Nueva Esperanza communities
But if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will change my mind about the disaster that I intended to bring
     on it.

And at another moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it  Jeremiah 18:8-9
*epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing with a text from the upcoming Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

COLOMBIA: Christian Peacemaker Teams Celebrates, “Peace is Possible.”

 

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them
be afraid. – John 14:27 

Today is the day.  The war with FARC-EP has ended.  Peace is possible.

On Thursday,  August 25th, The Colombian Government and FARC-EP announced that they reached a peace agreement. After over fifty years of armed conflict, they laid down their weapons in an indefinite cease-fire. Generations of Colombians that have known only war will now be given the opportunity to live in peace.    

Today, Christian Peacemaker Teams celebrates alongside our partners, who have worked so tirelessly for this day. These courageous women and men worked and dreamed of peace when there was no glimpse of it. This historic peace agreement was made possible by their tireless work.

We also recognize that in many ways the journey has just started. The peace agreement, momentous in its scale, will take years of work. It dares not only to end the war, but to change a culture of violence and dismantle structures of death. The task of agrarian reform and restorative justice are complicated tasks. Just these two points alone will take years of labor.

There are still challenges to overcome. We have seen a rise and re-organizing of paramilitaries in the region where we work. Furthermore, on 2 October, the country will vote in a “yes”/“no” referendum to ratify the peace agreements. At a national level, powerful people are already working to convince the people to vote against the popular referendum. It will be devastating for Colombia if the peace agreements do not pass.  These are forces rising to prevent a real peace from taking hold

However, we cannot be afraid.  So today, we celebrate. The war with FARC-EP has ended. Peace is possible.

 
 

COLOMBIA PRAYER REQUEST: Judge orders Alvaro Garcia's hearing for Monday 1 August 2016

The judge has scheduled a hearing for Alvaro Garcia's case on Monday August 1. Pray that the judge release Alvaro on house arrest while the investigation continues. Pray that there be justice and transparency in the courtroom and pray for wisdom as the lawyers  begin to build their defence to prove Alvaro's innocence.

Sign our petition to free Alvaro and stop the criminalization of Colombian campesino leaders and human rights defenders: http://bit.ly/2aHaGzx

‪#LibertadParaAlvaro‬ â€Ş#Guayabo4‬ â€Ş#humanrightsdefender‬

COLOMBIA: Join our CPT delegation in September!

 
Street art in Bogotá depicting the struggles of agricultural communities

CPT welcomes you to Colombia this September to experience a monumental era for Colombia as the government and the largest guerrilla group sign of a peace agreement and move towards the hard work of collective memory, truth, and reconciliation.  

Sign up today!  Tell a friend! 

COLOMBIA: The Popular Strike--A fight that never ends

 

Almost every year since August 2013 farmers in Colombia have taken to the main highways to demand guarantees from the government necessary to cultivate their land and thus maintain a livelihood to support their families; the campesinos, Indigenous people, and Afro-Colombians are not only demanding respect for their territories but also calling for a revision of national policies that currently threaten the development of the rural sector.
These mobilizations are supported by several sectors including students, healthcare professionals, teachers, religious groups and unions, which in turn represent an array of issues affecting the vast majority of the population.

COLOMBIA: Peace, reconciliation and coexistence—closer all the time

[Note: The following piece by CPT Colombia team partner and frequent delegation resource Francisco Jose Campo was written before the signing of the Havana Peace Accords last week.  It has been adapted for CPTnet and to reflect that reality.]

The national yearning for peace, reconciliation and coexistence between compatriots seems continuously more real than utopian. Undeniably, it’s darkest before the dawn. But the dawn of peace that is revealing itself to us is preceded by a dreadful darkness in this long night of a conflict that is not only military (as the military face of the conflict is becoming less vicious), but one that is ideological and political. Those on the far right are playing with the possibility of torpedoing the tangible advances of the negotiations, and the imminent signing of a political accord. Anti-restitution activity is the particular proof in this case. 

COLOMBIA URGENT ACTION: Stop the criminalization of Colombian human rights defenders!

 

 

Dopa petition

 CPT Colombia asks the Colombian authorities to put a stop to the growing trend of judicial persecution and detention of campesino human rights defenders who are fighting for their rights to land and territory.

Alvaro Garcia, campesino leader from the communities of El Guayabo and Bella Union and member of the Victims Association of Magdalena Medio (ASORVIMM), remains incarcerated for almost two months now under false criminal charges.  He is one of two CPT partners who have suffered political persecution and imprisonment in the last nine months.  

Three other leaders from El Guayabo and Bella Union currently have arrest warrants similar to that of Alvaro’s, which severely encumbers the community’s legal struggle and distracts the authorities’ attention from the larger land issue at play.

Join us in asking that the authorities drop charges for all four leaders, release Alvaro and respect the campesinos’ right to remain on the land as the country moves forward towards a post-conflict reality.  

 

SIGN HERE

Prayers for Peacemakers, June 15, 2016

Prayers for Peacemakers, June 15, 2016

Pray for the people of Barrancabermeja, Colombia.  The mayor plans to sell their public water company to a private corporation, which has human rights organizations quite worried.  Pray for the unionized workers at the water company who may lose their jobs if that happens.  

 

*Epixel for Peacemakers June 19, 2016  

 Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people; from those who are deceitful and unjust deliver me! Psalm 43:1

 
 *epixel: a snapshot-epistle to the churches related to and appearing  with a text  from the upcoming  Sunday's Revised Common Lectionary readings.

CPT INTERNATIONAL: Quilting Peace--A report from the Vatican Nonviolence and Just Peace Conference

 


From April 11-13, 2016, I had the privilege of representing JustFaith Ministries at a Catholic conference on nonviolence in Rome, Italy. The conference was titled, “Nonviolence and Just Peace: Contributing to a Catholic understanding of and commitment to nonviolence.” This historic conference, co-sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and Pax Christi International, brought together about eighty people from around the world—lay people, members of religious congregations, priests, and bishops—whose experiences of nonviolence ranged from scholarly and theological study to on-the-ground nonviolent resistance, to advocacy on a local, national, and international scale.

All sessions were rich with stories of hope in situations of despair, of mending in in places of fracture, of love in places where hate would be easier.

Bishop Paride Taban of South Sudan talked about Holy Trinity Peace Village, the manifestation of his dream, in which members of different tribes who used to call each other enemies now live, work, and solve problems as a community. The bishop’s peacemaking efforts extend far beyond the village, as he has, among other things, participated in negotiations between the South Sudanese government and rebels.

Stories from the Philippines included both the nonviolent movement that led to Ferdinand Marcos stepping down from the presidency in 1986 and the countrywide peace education that has been going on there since shortly after that.

Fr. Francisco de Roux, SJ, shared his experiences from the Magdalena Medio region of Colombia, where he and his teams talked to everyone—the military, the paramilitary, and the guerrillas— in an effort to create peace. In his personal statement he wrote, “in the Magdalena Medio, when we were surrounded by violent groups, we discovered that there is no safety in weapons. That the only true and sustainable protection comes through trusting people. And that to win trust we have to go through a long process of dialogue and mutual acceptance, and unpredicted individual and social changes, in the midst of uncertainties.” Now he is involved in the negotiations for a peace agreement that may finally bring the decades-long violence in Colombia to an end.

Each story added a new patch to the blanket of peace. 

Many more, we need so many more before we can cover the whole world in peace. 

COLOMBIA: A Week in Northeastern Antioquia, Colombia--Learning about the Armed Conflict

 

Delegates walk through the town of Mina Nueva, Antioquia. Photo: Caldwell Manners

Over Easter break, Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) and a grassroots organization CAHUCOPANA (Corporation for Humanitarian Action for Peace and Coexistence in Northeastern Antioquia) organized a national delegation for Colombians to travel to the northeastern region of the department of Antioquia. These two organizations seek to raise awareness about the realities of the armed conflict as well as to defend the human rights of communities who live in the armed conflict zone.

Those of us on the delegation represented the cities of Bogota, Ibague, and Cali. We had several purposes for participating: to learn about the armed conflict from the experience of those who live in the conflict zone; to learn about how each community undertakes peaceful resistance; to learn about the concerns of each community; and to learn about the solutions each community has developed to resist the challenges brought by the armed conflict.